East Harlem Community Board to Take Final Bike Lane Vote Tomorrow

The full board of East Harlem's CB 11 votes tomorrow night on whether to bring protected bike lanes and pedestrian refuge islands to First and Second Avenue, as seen here downtown. Photo: NYC DOT

After a long and circuitous path, the fate of protected bike lanes on East Harlem’s First and Second Avenues may be decided in a community board vote Tuesday night.

First the city promised protected lanes and pedestrian refuge islands to the neighborhood along with Select Bus Service. Then it walked back that commitment, limiting new bicycle and pedestrian facilities to downtown segments of First and Second. The neighborhood mobilized, going so far as to rally on the steps of City Hall with City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito and State Senator José Serrano, eventually winning back an offer of the safety improvements. Community Board 11 quickly endorsed the plan in a vote of 47-3, only to rescind its approval when local businesses complained.

Now, after some consensus-building in a working group suggested by Borough President Scott Stringer, CB 11’s transportation committee has again endorsed the bike lanes unanimously. If the full board votes for the street improvements another time tomorrow night, the Department of Transportation will move forward with installation of the parking-protected lanes in East Harlem.

East Harlem is a neighborhood badly in need of this kind of pedestrian and bicycle-friendly redesign. It has some of the highest levels of cycling in the city despite woefully inadequate bike infrastructure. Public health officials have rallied around the proposed protected lanes, hoping that they get more people riding and walking in a neighborhood that struggles with high asthma and diabetes rates.

Community Board 11 will meet tomorrow night, March 20, at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held in the auditorium of P.S. 30, at 144-176 E. 128th Street (between Lexington and 3rd Avenue).

  • Bronxite

    I can’t wait for these too be built. As it stands it even sucks driving down most North/South Avenues in Manhattan. The automobile traffic can be classified as reckless or lawless. The traffic calming is one of my favorite aspects to this project. As a future bike commuter I will also appreciate the future protected lanes. As a pedestrian I will benefit from the shorter walking distance. This will boost business in the area and even provide some beautification. At the northernmost point, how will this integrate into the existing bicycle network?

  • Bronxite

    As a pedestrian I actually meant shortened street crossing distance.

  • J

    @8fef61d6cc9da55fe327bd2fd8269292:disqus The connections to the north are perhaps the weakest aspect of this project. From everything I’ve seen (and I’ve followed this pretty closely) it basically just ends at 125th, even though the RFK (Triborough) Bridge path entrance is at 126th & 2nd Ave, and the Third Ave bridge ends at 128th & 3rd. That said, it looks like the First Ave lanes might link well to the new Willis Ave Bridge entrance at 1st Ave & 125th.

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